Outraged over 'dirty' magazines being offered at Tri-City newsstands, a group of housewives, businessmen and ministers decided to sit down and do something about it. They began by viewing the magazines and discussing if they merited sale to local citizens.
The same year the following books were published: Goodbye Columbus, by Philip Roth, Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence, and Naked Lunch, by William Burroughs.
The local purity group must have had some interesting reading.
Published on March 22, 1959
By Dale Blair, Herald staff writer
Connoisseurs of "art" and "girly" magazines will not find them on magazine stands in the Tri-City area anymore.
Buchanan News Agency in Pasco, sole distributor for all magazines in the Tri-City and Walla Walla areas has taken about 40 of the risqué magazines from its stock. These magazines were termed obscene by a group of Tri-City ministers and they requested C. Neal Buchanan, manager, to remove them.
Buchanan complied with the minsters' request although only the prosecuting attorney has the power to have the magazines banned. The obscenity law was passed by the present state legislature.
The magazines which have been taken off Tri-City newsstands are in the 50 cents and $1 price ranges. Although printed on good paper and featuring excellent photography, nevertheless, most of them have pictures of nude women and this is what the minsters have objected to.
To help out in the drive to remove objectionable magazines, Buchanan, and others have set up a group which will meet once a month. The group will be composed of local businessmen, housewives, ministers and Buchanan. If any member of the group finds a magazine he terms objectionable, it will be brought to the meeting and members will vote on whether it should be retained on newsstands.
Buchanan pointed out that he will go along with the committee's action, providing the magazine in question does not have at lest a second class mailing privilege, or second class privilege pending.
If any of the magazines selected have these privileges, Buchanan will not remove them. The reason for this he points out, is because the U.S.. Post Office Department will not issue mailing privileges to any publication it terms obscene.
Some of the magazines which Tri-City ministers have objected to have second and even first class mailing privileges issued by the post office. In fact, one of the more controversial magazines, "Sunshine and Health," a nudist publication, has been approved by the U.S.. Supreme Court since the publication is the official house organ of the American Nudist Association.
"I think the post office is about as impartial as possible when it comes to judging whether a magazine is obscene or not," Buchanan said.
The magazines which Buchanan has removed from his stock constitute a loss of about 7,000 magazines in monthly sales. A check with local news stands indicates that of the approximate 7,000 "girly" magazines sold in the Tri-City area, few, if any were sold to juveniles. In point of fact, news dealers indicated that the majority of sales of this type magazine were made to well-dressed men.
Buchanan's voluntary removal of the magazines will mean a loss of about $560 a month. This does not include what local news stands will lose. But, as the news distributing agency firm manager said, "We are more than willing to cooperate with the ministers in any magazines they term 'objectionable,' but only to the extent that these magazines do not have mailing privileges."
The problem of what is obscene and what is not has caused many court battles in neighboring states. And in many cases, news dealers have won out since it is rather hard to define obscene.
At any rate, persons wishing to purchase "art" and "girly" magazines need only to into Oregon where a full selection is available.